THE IMPERATIVE for farmers to pick the most disease resistant variety of chickpea has been borne out in trial work.
Experiments conducted at the NSW Department of Primary Industries' Tamworth Agricultural Institute have found a massive difference between the most resistant and least resistant chickpea lines in managing the damaging disease ascochyta blight.
NSW DPI plant pathologist Kevin Moore said ascochyta could be particularly damaging in seasons like this one and said work was being done to create ascochyta management strategies appropriate for each variety.
Farmers with very susceptible varieties will be urged to keep a closer eye on their crops than those with more robust cultivars.
"The trial includes chickpea varieties currently grown throughout the northern chickpea growing region from Dubbo through to central QLD," Dr Moore said.
"The aim is to develop ascochyta blight management packages for chickpea varieties that match a variety's resistance to ascochyta.
"A chickpea variety rated Very Susceptible to ascochyta, for example Kyabra, will require more intensive management, closer monitoring and more fungicide applications, than a variety with greater resistance, such as PBA Seamer," he said.
In pleasing news, he said varietal advances were meaning the reliance on fungicides to control 'asco' was declining.
"As Ascochyta blight resistance increases, the reliance on fungicides decreases."
Three management treatments were performed within the trial:
- *Low Ascochyta - where plots were sprayed with a registered fungicide before inoculation and before rain events;
- * High Ascochyta - where plots received no fungicide and were left unprotected; and
- * Variety Management Package (VMP) - where plots get their first fungicide spray at half the rate of the Low Ascochyta treatment, based on the variety's Ascochyta rating
"The results show disease levels are very high in unprotected Kyabra, with plants almost dead, whereas unprotected PBA Seamer has only low levels of ascochyta blight, illustrating the importance of resistance and differences between varieties," Dr Moore said
"Growers are reminded to grow a variety with the highest level of ascochyta blight resistance suitable for their area."